Written by: Jennifer Fantich, M.A., CCC-SLP
Hot temperatures aren’t going anywhere! That being said, why not structure some fun language activities around cooling down with water activities? Check out some of these fun and interactive activities to do with your kids.
Monday: Water balloon target practice
Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashion game with water balloons? To make it speech appropriate, draw a target on your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. The bulls-eye of the target should have the target sound (e.g. /s/, /r/, /th/). Depending on the level of production in the child (are they producing targets in: isolation, initial, medial, final word position; phrases; sentences or conversation), have them practice their sound. If they produce their sound correctly, they get a water balloon to throw a balloon at their target. The more correct productions result in more attempts to hit the bulls-eye. Depending on how many bulls-eyes a child makes, a reward can be given (a treat, 5 minutes longer outside, 10 more minutes playing with a favorite toy, etc.)
Tuesday: Water table vocabulary
*if you don’t have a water table you can use a bathtub, or large bucket.
Fill the table, tub or bucket up with different toys suitable to go in the water (animals, letters, figures, colors, transportation, instruments, etc.) Have kids either:
- Take turns finding an object and telling you about it (What is it? How do you use it? Where do you find it? When can you see/use it? Can you describe it? Is it big? Is it colorful? Does it make noise?)
- You, as the parent, describe an object and let kids take turns finding it. Give each child 3 descriptions on their turn (e.g. it has 4 wheels, a steering wheel and goes fast) to see if they can find the object being described. When kids feel comfortable enough, they can play teacher and you can be the one searching for the objects.
Wednesday: Soapy letters/sounds
Using a cookie sheet and shaving cream, this activity is sure to be a kid favorite! Spread a thin layer of shaving cream on a cookie sheet. Have kids take turns drawing/writing letters with their finger. You can target knowledge of letters/sounds in several ways.
- You, the parent, draw/write the letter and see if the child knows what it is.
- Ask your child to draw/write the letter to understand which letters they know/need more help with.
- Give your child a sound (‘pa’, ‘ssss’, ‘ha’) to see if they can match the letter that makes the sound you’ve given.
- Depending on how advanced/old your child is, see if they can write/draw the first or last letter in a given word (e.g. write the first letter you hear in ‘car’; write the first letter you hear in ‘bus’)
- Depending on how advanced/old your child is, see if they can write a word/their name. Take this opportunity to highlight how letters combined together make words that we can read.
Thursday: Bucket dump
This is a fun game to play when practicing/targeting sounds for articulation. You’ll need a measuring cup, water, and a bucket. For each sound your child accurately produces, he/she can fill 1 cup of water into the bucket. At the end of the practice session (say 10 words) the child gets to dump the amount of water in the bucket on their parent. The more sounds produced correct, the more water gets dumped onto mommy or daddy. This one is simple, rewarding and fun!
Friday: Dissolving sponges
Remember those dissolving capsules that you could put in the bath as kids? They make for great language games! Usually you can find them at your local dollar store or here.
Most of the capsules are packaged based on animal type (dinosaurs, farm animals, zoo animals, sea animals, insects, etc.) You can choose to let as many capsules dissolve at a time. Divide the number of capsules evenly between the number of kids playing (say, 3 per child). Makes sure to give kids their own buckets to play. In their own separate buckets, kids can let their capsules dissolve. Once completely exposed, kids can take turns describing their sponge animal to a player to see if that player can guess the animal and/or where it lives. This is a fun way to target vocabulary and expressive language.
If your kids are younger, or not at that level, you can dissolve the capsules all at once (or 4, 5 ,6 at a time) and ask kids to find certain sponges either based on color (red, yellow, blue, green) or animal type (I want you to find the cow…the shark…the elephant…the T-rex).
Afterwards, these sponges can be used for painting! See if your child can make a farm scene, ocean scene or zoo scene using the sponges that they have.